Reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra outran five competitors today to capture her second consecutive 2010 win in the $400,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes at Monmouth Park.
The 4-year-old mare, the 1-9 favorite with Calvin Borel aboard, covered the 1 1/8-mile race in one minute, 49 3/5 seconds, three lengths ahead of Queen Martha in the 95-degree heat.
“She came through it pretty well. It was super hot. She did what she needed to do and did it easily,” said owner Barbara Banke, the wife of Jess Jackson, in a telephone interview from Monmouth Park. Borel “didn’t want to exhaust her in the heat. Calvin was feeling the heat himself.”
Rachel Alexandra stayed in second place behind Queen Martha for most of the slow-paced race until she roared into first coming down the stretch.
“It was a hot day and she kept her composure,” said trainer Steve Asmussen in a television interview. “She’s doing really well. We should have a lot of mare going into the end of the year.”
Rachel Alexandra returned $2.20 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show on a $2 bet at the Oceanport, New Jersey, track. Queen Martha paid $2.80 and $2.40 and Ask the Moon paid $3.80.
Monmouth officials changed the date of the Lady’s Secret Stakes -- moving it up one week -- increased the purse to $400,000 from $150,000 and extended the race length to 1 1/8 miles from 1/16 miles.
Next Race Undecided
Banke said Rachel Alexandra’s next race hasn’t been decided, although the trainer and owners are “timing the races to get her to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Jackson hasn’t disclosed in which of the Breeders’ Cup races he will enter Rachel Alexandra. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held Nov. 5-6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Jess would like to meet Zenyatta,” Banke said. “We’ll have to see how that shakes out.”
Zenyatta, a 6-year-old mare, is undefeated, winning all 17 starts, including last year’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Class in which she beat a field of male competitors.
Rachel Alexandra, who won nine straight races last year including the 2009 Preakness Stakes and a 20 1/2-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks, came in second in her first two races of the 2010 campaign. She won the $214,000 Fleur de Lis by 10 ½ lengths on June 12 at Churchill Downs.